Guest Post: The Official Google Educator Group-Massachusetts

I am excited to share that I will be leading the Google Educator Group for the great state of Massachusetts! You can become a part of this community by clicking here. Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 11.59.54 AM
Why Join the Massachusetts GEG?
If you are an educator, technology integrator, or administrator in the Commonwealth, and have “gone Google” with Google Apps for Education, or your team is considering the adoption of GAFE, I  urge you to become a part of the GEG Massachusetts community for several reasons:
1. Go beyond 140 characters
The Massachusetts GEG is a community. People who choose to become members of this community believe in Google and what is has to offer to students and teachers. As a member, you’ll be automatically connected to a group of educators with similar interests, attitudes, and goals. Obviously members of this community have a great deal of enthusiasm for all things Google. In fact, there are several Google Certified Trainers (and a few self-proclaimed “Google addicts”) who are members and I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn alongside them! This community will allow you to engage in deep discussions with colleagues, both virtually and face to face.
When you need advice, want to share a tip or trick, or are faced with a challenge, fellow community members will be there to offer suggestions and encouragement. Twitter is still definitely an excellent way to build a PLN, but the Massachusetts GEG will take sharing and connecting to another level. If you feel as though you’ve mastered Twitter, or you are at the point where you need more than just bite-sized sharing, then it’s definitely time you give Google+ a try. Set-up your profile. Add a picture (we want to know what you look like!) and a story (what makes you tick!) and any other details you wish to share about yourself. Create a GEG-Mass circle to organize all the new contacts you will make as a member of this community and get ready to learn, share, and grow as an educator.
I can tell you from experience connecting with other educators via social media is truly life-changing. Like many teachers, I worked in isolation for many years. However, when I discovered how educators were using social media for professional reasons, and learned about the concept of a PLN, I began building a network of colleagues whom I learn from and am inspired by daily. Every educator should have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be connected. And I don’t mean gaining thousands of followers. I’m talking about real connections and professional relationships, some of which can ultimately evolve into meaningful friendships. It’s truly amazing how many genuine people there are out there who are willing to help their peers become better educators.
2. Make the Mass GEG Your “One Stop Google Shop”
Share and curate resources and get the latest updates about anything and everything related to Google Apps for Education including:
  • Drive
  • Docs, Sheets, Forms, Presentations
  • Sites & Blogger
  • Gmail & Calendar
  • Hangouts
  • and best of all…CLASSROOM! (yes, I’m excited about Classroom launching this fall, can ya tell?)
And if you know anything about GAFE, you know that Google is constantly updating its products and tools with new features to make the user experience more powerful. The Massachusetts GEG will ultimately become your “one stop shop” for all that is Google. You won’t need to join separate communities to learn about specific Google products and how to integrate them into your school or classroom. Whether you’re 1:1 Chromebook, iPad, or BYOD, the Massachusetts GEG will serve all of your needs. Heck, you’ll even be able to ask questions and learn more about Google Glass! The best part is that because this community is the official GEG for Massachusetts, there is a strong connection directly to Google. My interaction with the folks at Google has been great and I can tell you they are very excited about the GEG initiative.
3. Received invitations to face to face and virtual learning and networking events. This is the part of the GEG initiative that excites me the most. I plan to work very hard to coordinate regional, face to face events throughout Massachusetts. I am hopeful the first face to face meet up will be in late August and will release details as soon as the event is confirmed. There will also be Hangouts to discuss the latest educational trends and Google products. Please feel free to suggest topics or offer to host a Hangout or face to face event in your area. Massachusetts is filled with incredibly innovative and talented teachers and I am hopeful that our GEG will grow into a strong, collaborative community where all members contribute their knowledge and skill. Thank you in advance for joining and I look forward to working with all of you!

Connected Educator Profile (Day 4) – Scot Wright – Ore City, Texas

The United State Department of Education has declared the month of October Connected Educator Month. According to ConnectedEducators.org,  the website set up to support this event, the Mission of Connected Educator Month is to  promote educators learning and collaborating through online communities of practice and social networks.With this in mind I reached out to my Personal Learning Network (PLN) via Twitter, my favorite resource for connecting, and tweeted the following:
As is normally the case, my network came through! When I have a question on an educational topic or want some feedback for one of my crazy ideas, I have a network of amazing educators at my fingertips that never cease to amaze me. Being a “Connected Educator” is awesome!

Today’s Connected Educator Profile
Scot Wright, Ore City, Texas
High School Principal



Why do you choose to be a connected educator?

I’ve been exposed to so many different people from all over the world thru twitter. I’ve been able to learn so much more this way than I ever thought possible.

Where can other educators connect with you online? 

Twitter – @scot_wright

Blog: scotwright.wordpress.com

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Connected Educator Profile (Day 3) – Mark Engstrom – Sao Paolo, Brazil

The United State Department of Education has declared the month of October Connected Educator Month. According to ConnectedEducators.org,  the website set up to support this event, the Mission of Connected Educator Month is to  promote educators learning and collaborating through online communities of practice and social networks.With this in mind I reached out to my Personal Learning Network (PLN) via Twitter, my favorite resource for connecting, and tweeted the following:
As is normally the case, my network came through! When I have a question on an educational topic or want some feedback for one of my crazy ideas, I have a network of amazing educators at my fingertips that never cease to amaze me. Being a “Connected Educator” is awesome!

Today’s Connected Educator Profile
Mark Engstrom, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Middle School Geography

Why do you choose to be a connected educator?

I have been able to connect with over 20 educators globally to enhance the experience of my geography students. Would love to connect with even more educators looking to give their students collaborative experiences around global issues.

Where can other educators connect with you online? 

Twitter – @MarkAEngstrom

  

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Connected Educator Month Begins In Two Weeks! What Will You Do To Connect?

For the second year in a row, the United States Department of Education has made October Connected Educator Month.  What is Connected Educator Month (CEM) you ask? Check out the following description from the great CEM District Toolkit created by Powerful Learning Practice:

Connected Educator Month (CEM) is a month-long celebration of community, with educators at all levels, from all disciplines, moving toward a fully connected and collaborative profession. 

 The goals of Connected Educator Month include:

  • Helping more districts promote and integrate online social learning into their formal professional development 
  • Stimulating and supporting collaboration and innovation in professional development 
  • Getting more educators connected (to each other) 
  • Deepening and sustaining the learning of those already connected
The Connected Educator Month District Tool Kit
The bottom line is that our students need to know how to create Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) that will allow them to connect with others who share their passion in a particular area. For this to happen to the fullest extent possible, we need out students to be surrounded by educators who can model the practices of a connected learner.  
With this in mind, I hope to profile one Connected Educator from my PLN on each school day during the month of October. To make this happen, I will be asking the members of my network to fill out a short Google Form and share a bit of information about who they are, where they are, and why they connect. Stay tuned…
If you are willing to help me achieve my goal of a “Connected Educator Profile” for each school day during October, please fill out this brief form.
Thanks in advance for your help!

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Growing Your PLN Video

I had the chance to spend some time in a Google Hangout tonight to discuss how educators can grow their Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) using Twitter.  It was a privilege to be included in this discussion with an impressive group of educator. The discussion included Nick Provenzano (an high school English Teacher from Michigan), Lisa Dabbs  (a former Principal, blogger for Edutopia, and currently an Education Consultant), Lyn Hilt (a former Elementary Principal and current tech. integration coach in PA), and the organizer of the session Tom Murray (Director of Technology and Cyber Education in Bucks County, PA).

The discussion referenced the following questions:

  What’s a personal learning network and why should educators be connected?
  • How have you used Twitter to make connections and grow professionally?  
  • What’s your connected educator story?
  • How can educators get started?  Where do they even begin?
  • How can educators increase the size of their learning network?
  • How can Twitter be used for Professional development?
  • What other advice do you have for people looking to get started?

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